On Friday, January 10, 2014, at 9:30 a.m., the Korean Friendhip Bell which sits peacefully on the knoll which extends from the San Pedro side of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, will be unveiled after being restored to its original luster. The repair work included resurfacing the bell and repairing and repainting the pavilion, with bell masters from South Korea traveling to San Pedro to do much of the detail work ensuring it would be authentic. The cost to revamp the bell came entirely from private donations. The Korean Friendship Bell has attracted hundreds of visitors with its massive size and pagoda like stone structure.
This work of art was donated in 1976 to the people of Los Angeles by the Republic of Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of the U.S. independence, honor veterans of the Korean War, and to recognize the friendship between the two countries. The bell is patterned after one in South Korea which was cast in 771 A.D. Originally, the Korean Bell of Friendship, was to be placed at Griffith Park. However, when the Palos Verdes/San Pedro hillside location was proposed, it was thought to be a more appropriate location as it overlooked the harbor and would serve as a Statue of Liberty of the Pacific. At its dedication in 1976, the bell was rung 13 times to symbolize the 13 colonies, and is still rung on July 4, August 15th (Korean Independence Day), New Year’s Day and every September to coincide with bell ringings around the country to celebrate Constitution week.
Friendship Bell weighs 17 tons and is twelve feel high and 7.5 feet wide. The bell is made of copper and tin, with gold, nickel, lead and phosphorous for tone quality. The cost to the Korean people was $500,000. On the sides of the bell the Statue of Liberty is paired four times with a Korean spirit. Each Korean spirit holds up a different symbol – a design of the Korean flag, a branch of the rose of Sharon, (Korea’s national flower), a branch of Laurel (symbol of victory), and a dove of peace. The bell does not have a clapper and must be struck with a wooden log.
The Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion is located at the Angels Gate Park – 3601 S. Gaffey Street, San Pedro. For more information call (310) 548-7705.
Photo courtesy of the City of San Pedro